Monday, October 12, 2009

Lepakshi - II

Continued from -- > Lepakshi - I

Lepakshi is a small village, which lies 15-km east of Hindupur in Anantapur District of Andhra Pradesh. This place is also known for the best murals of the Vijayanagar times, apart from the huge Shivalinga, Ganesha and Nandi .

Lepakshi consists of three shrines, dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Veerabhadra.
It is believed that noted sculptor Vishwakarma Amarashilpi Jakkanachari took part in planning the architecture of these temples.

Entrance to the temple at Lepakshi

The Veerabhadra temple is said to have developed into the present exquisite shrine by Virupanna - the treasurer of the Vijayanagar Kings. He is said to have conceived this idea while he found the idol of Veerabhadra.

The temple is divided into three parts - the 'Mukha Mantapa', also called 'Nitya Mantapa' or 'Ranga Mantapa', the 'Artha Mantapa' and 'Garbha Griha', and the 'Kalyana Mantapa', with 38 carved monolithic pillars in Grey sandstone which was left unfinished. These three form a triangle with a common Mantapa.

As per local legend Lord Shiva and Parvati were married on the spot where the Kalyana Mandapa stands. The temple is surrounded on all sides by an outer enclosure. A second inner enclosure contains the main portion of the temple. Its finest parts are the 'Natya' and 'Ardha' Mandapas.

Shiva-Parvati Vivaaha

The Kalyana Mandapam, a standing monument to the exuberance of Vijayanagar art which is left unfinished.

Murals at Lepakshi

I had heard a lot about the murals here, and was eagerly waiting to see them. The best specimens of the Vijayanagar style of sculpture and paintings are found in the Natya and Kalyana Mandapams. These sculptures depict stories of Ananthasayana, Dattatreya, Chaturmukha Bramha, Tumburu, Narada and Rambha, apart from Shiva and Vishnu.

Virupanna is said to have executed the planning and construction of this Temple in the absence of the king. When the construction was almost completed and was being supervised, the king returned only to find the treasury empty. The king is said to have ordered a punishment to Virupanna, tha he should be blinded.

Even today one can see two dark stains upon the wall near the 'Kalyana Mandapa', which are said to be the marks made by his eyes, which he himself plucked and threw against the wall. The village thus got its name "Lepa-akshi Lepakshi", i.e., a village of the blinded eye.

While we went around the temple, I was anxious to not have found the huge Shivalinga, Ganapathia and Nandi. Google and Wiki had educated me enough and I already had a clear picture of Lepakshi. When inquired with the priest, he did say that the Linga is behind the temple and that Nandi was a km away from the temple.

Some other rarities which I had never seen elsewhere............

The Ganesha carved in a single stone

Sapthamatrika at Lepakshi

Bedara Kannappa

A 3 headed bull

A quick exit and a 2 min driver took us to Nandi, which is a km away but in direct line of sight and facing the Shivalinga on the hill.

Pooja at Nandi

It was long and tiring driver back home. But truly the dry land there was a contrast to the greenery seen on the way to Mysore.

At dusk on the drive back @ Lepakshi ...

Melukote temple on the top of the hill as seen from across the lake

Linked posts

Blog Widget by LinkWithin